Governor’s Raid on Greenhouse Gas Pollution Fund Sets Back Environmental Groups

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 17 2013 - 3:37pm

Environmental and community groups are looking for ways to replace the $500 million for energy conservation, transportation and other green programs that Gov. Jerry Brown persuaded the Legislature in mid-June to borrow to balance the state budget. 

New Owner Ousts Longtime San Francisco Bay Guardian Editor

T.J. Johnston and Miguel Sola Torá, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 14 2013 - 5:19pm

Tim Redmond, the longtime executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, left the paper late Thursday night after the owner forced him out, he said. Redmond said his dismissal stemmed from a dispute over personnel and editorial direction. Stephen Buel, editor of the Guardian’s sister paper, the San Francisco Examiner, called it a resignation. Buel said the Guardian has been losing money and Redmond resigned to prevent the firing of other staff.

Despite Lowered Expectations, Officials Still Say America’s Cup Will Bring Jobs to S.F.

Miguel Sola Torá, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 10 2013 - 4:01pm

The America’s Cup may not turn out to be the benefit to San Francisco that city leaders and private boosters once promised. But the city’s economic development officials still say taxpayers can break even by hosting a scaled-back version of the boat race this summer. Buried deep in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed city budget released on May 31 was $22 million directed toward planning, permitting, emergency, security and transit measures for the America’s Cup.

Domestic Violence Case that Spurred San Francisco Reforms Comes to a Close

Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 5 2013 - 5:59pm

The high-profile murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko more than 12 years ago showed just how ineffective the city was at dealing with domestic violence cases, spurring an investigation of the city's enforcement of domestic violence policy. Now the state Supreme Court has reinstated the second-degree murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend.

State Homeless ‘Bill of Rights’ Put on Hold Until Next Year

T.J. Johnston, San Francisco Public Press — May 30 2013 - 3:41pm

A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle.  Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor’s Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:47pm

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week. The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor's Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:41pm

 

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week.

The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

State Should Follow S.F.'s Lead and Raise Minimum Wage, Says Lawmaker

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — May 15 2013 - 5:27pm

San Francisco’s record of raising the minimum wage 10 years ago without crashing the local economy proves that California can do the same, said a leading labor policy reformer in the Legislature. Watsonville Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s plan to raise the state minimum to $9.25 an hour by 2016 draws heavily on the experience of San Francisco.

S.F.’s Minimum Wage, Highest in the Nation, Eludes Thousands as Enforcement Efforts Face Obstacles

Aaron Tilley and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — May 1 2013 - 11:07am

10-year-old reform unfinished as businesses routinely flout $10.55 mandate, labor activists say

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

While San Francisco’s minimum wage is the highest in the nation, thousands of workers still earn below the current mandate of $10.55 an hour, say economists, anti-poverty activists and public officials. It has been 10 years since voters passed the groundbreaking labor reform, and the city has built a first-of-its-kind inspection team that has recovered back wages for more than 3,000 workers. But these efforts appear to have addressed only a fraction of the problem. ALSO: Listen to discussion of S.F.'s minimum wage enforcement on KALW Radio’s “Your Call” Friday Media Roundtable.

Domestic Violence Record-Keeping Still Flawed, but Police Say Fix Is Near

Tay Wiles, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 29 2013 - 11:04am

Some cases were not referred immediately to Special Victims Unit

This story appeared in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Nine months after the San Francisco Police Department fully implemented a new digitized case management system, inspectors were still finding as many as 20 domestic violence cases per month that were not immediately referred to the Special Victims Unit for investigation, said a lieutenant in charge of the domestic violence team.

Indigenous People Face Obstacles Seeking Legal Pay

Jonah Harris, New America Media — Apr 24 2013 - 12:46pm

Mayas from Yucatán find work in food service, but face language, immigration barriers

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Few are more susceptible to the crime of wage theft than indigenous newcomers from Latin America, say labor experts, advocates for minority ethnic communities and immigrant workers themselves. Indigenous people from Mexico and Central America, who make up as much as 30 percent of the population of immigrants from there, are less likely to be literate, to speak either Spanish or English proficiently or to have legal documentation.

Restaurant Worker Paid Below Minimum Wage for ‘Training’

Tearsa Joy Hammock, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 22 2013 - 1:00pm

Food-service sector among worst violators of wage laws

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Last year, Mauricio Lozano found a job through a friend at a pizzeria in North Beach. The pay was $8 an hour, in cash. He said a supervisor told him he would get less than San Francisco’s minimum wage because he was “in training.” Under city law, that’s no excuse for paying below the mandated wage floor, then $10.24 an hour. But the restaurant needed someone right away, and Lozano was in no position to negotiate. 

S.F. Lacks Data to Set Minimum Wage Policies

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 15 2013 - 1:24pm

Estimates of low-wage workers range from 20,000 to 55,000

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

With President Barack Obama proposing to increase the federal minimum wage, local policy experts say fully understanding the economic effects of the change could be a problem given the dearth of accurate statistics in the large city that has had the highest minimum wage for years: San Francisco. No one has ever done a formal tally of minimum wage earners in San Francisco, said Ted Egan, chief economist for the city’s Office of Economic Analysis.

Economists Say City Minimum Wage Means Big Boost for Working Class

Christopher D. Cook, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 10 2013 - 3:26pm

Backers say it helps recruitment and retention, opponents say it kills jobs

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

“Job killer” is a common refrain from businesses in opposing wage increases and other worker benefits. But some researchers are challenging the assumption that boosting the minimum wage depresses hiring. “We don’t see any decline in employment,” said Michael Reich, director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

‘I Don’t Think You Can Survive in This City on the Minimum Wage’

Christopher D. Cook, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 10 2013 - 3:21pm

At S.F.’s largest soup kitchen, working adults say full-time work no longer pays the rent

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

As President Obama’s minimum wage hike proposal renews a national debate over costs and benefits, many low-wage workers in San Francisco say they can hardly get by even on the nation’s highest minimum wage of $10.55, which is nearly $3 an hour higher than the federal rate. As rents have soared above $1,500 for a typical studio apartment,  low-income workers say San Francisco’s minimum wage isn’t enough to keep up. 

Rent-Control Tenants May Foot the Bill for Mandatory Seismic Retrofits

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 3 2013 - 4:53pm

Tenants in 3,000 rent-controlled buildings could potentially pay all the costs of retrofitting those structures against earthquake damage unless they receive a financial hardship waiver from the city’s Rent Board, under the provisions of a new law approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors will vote again on the retrofit law on April 9, and it will need the mayor’s signature before becoming law.

Testing Online Privacy Limits, OKCupid Lets Strangers Read Intimate Messages

Rachel Swan, SF Public Press — Mar 25 2013 - 2:19pm

Users on the popular dating site OKCupid.com might not be aware of it, but fellow participants have been tapped to be community moderators, who have access to private correspondence. Those with access to the “moderation” button often are checking accounts that have been flagged for possible terms of service violations. But they also get to eavesdrop on what many users assumed to be private conversations.

Tenants Say Earthquake Retrofit Law Could Circumvent Rent Control

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 20 2013 - 4:04pm

A proposed San Francisco law designed to save rent-controlled housing stock from the next big earthquake could actually displace low-income tenants, say tenant rights advocates. Building owners could pass through the cost of the retrofits to tenants in the form of monthly rent increases. Tenants’ only recourse would be to successfully declare financial hardship.

UCSF Facing Cuts in Wake of Sequester; Free Bus Passes for Youth

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Mar 4 2013 - 1:40pm

Sequestration isn’t just some Washington abstraction. It’s hitting home. The automatic federal budget cuts that rolled out on Friday — known as the sequester — are going to hurt the University of California, San Francisco. The world-class teaching hospital and research center receives funding from the National Institutes of Health. According to KQED’s “California Report,” the university’s vice chancellor for research, Keith Yamamoto, said that some laboratories have already instituted hiring freezes.

Bringing Life Back to Mountain Lake

Dhyana Levey, Bay Nature — Feb 28 2013 - 7:33pm

As drivers speed along Highway 1, past the Richmond District and into the Presidio, they might only catch a quick glimpse of Mountain Lake off to the east. But anyone who takes a stroll down to this small body of water, tucked away behind a playground and tennis court, will see one of the city’s only remaining natural lakes – and one of its oldest.